The countdown to launch day is one of high stress and optimism for most startups. It’s important that you don’t get carried away with grand ideas and unrealistic expectations. Taking your time and following a step-by-step plan is vital, and could make all the difference between becoming a unicorn startup or one that doesn’t make it through to the end of the year. All of the optimism in the world is no replacement for business strategy, and if your launch day is looming closer and closer, here is the startup checklist that you need to consider before you start selling. Fail to plan, and your business launch will stand a much greater chance of stumbling before you make your impact.
Envision Beyond Your Business Plan
Your business plan is a vital document that will play a big part in your ongoing success. It’s far more than simply a way to encourage financial support: it should be a living document that evolves as your company grows. A business plan is intended to act as a guide, and its ultimate value is to aid your research. You need to think about your startup from a variety of angles, and your plan should be a roadmap to the way that you accomplish that. Think systemically, make sure that you know all of the facts, and research those areas that you have identified as your weak spots. In-depth preparation is the key to more likely success, and no matter how good your product or service, failing to research is the fastest way to watch your business crumble.
Whether you’re building a tech startup or something in a more traditional sector, it’s important that you test your product from every angle. Don’t race to launch day without knowing all that you can about your product, your sector, and your customer expectations. Research is your big task when it comes to launching a new startup. Talk to business owners who are already established in the sector you’re entering, and establish relationships with them. Not only can they act as mentors, but they can also help you identify potential issues with your product that you may not have considered. You should also do research into your customers, and chat with your target demographic in order to gather as many views and opinions as possible. Refine and fine-tune your business model and your product, and you will be able to make more of your launch, your marketing, and your future. Remember:
- Know your market: Ask as many questions as you can of as many people as possible. You need to know your market in every way, and that means your suppliers, your competitors, and your distributors. The more that you understand the base metrics of your market, the easier it will be to build a business that lasts.
- Know your customers: Don’t focus all of your attention on blind research. As much as you need to know your market, you also need to know as much as you can about your target customers. They will be the determining factor when it comes to your success or failure. Understand what drives them to a purchase, and what will prevent them from buying from a competitor. The more that you can identify your USP, the easier that you will be able to encourage those targeted customers to buy.
Create your Workplace
This will be very dependent on your sector and business model. A startup entering the manufacturing industry will require a very different workplace to software or app developers. However, you need your work environment to be positive and that means knowing what requirements you can’t live without. Remote working means that not every startup is going to need an office or factory floor, so it’s essential that you know exactly what your needs are.
If you need a large base and you have the finances to make your initial hires, then you are going to be responsible for their health and safety.
This is a very serious element of business management, so don’t dismiss it. There will need to be a thorough job hazard analysis, so make sure that you read more about the most important elements to consider. Of course, not every startup is going to need those large premises, and your startup might be launching from a home office or a managed office setup. Make sure that you understand the pros and cons of managed offices, but they can be an excellent option for startups with limited finances.
Your financial resources are also going to be important when it comes to your launch. If you don’t have the cash you need to cover your initial and ongoing costs, then you are going to start to flounder.
Never move forward with your startup launch in the blind hope that you will make enough initial sales to pay for your office or factory rent, your staff wages, and your own living costs.
Running a business can be expensive, and hidden costs can make all the difference when it comes to the end of the month. You should always have your financial matters fully researched as part of your business plan, and finding the right source of funding doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. Entrepreneurs can take advantage of a variety of financial options, so make sure that you understand the benefits and risks of:
Of course, you could choose to bootstrap your startup, but you will need to ensure that you have the cash backing to pay all of your obligations.
Make sure that you understand the risks that every startup faces. The more that you are aware of the risks and necessities, the more likely that you will develop the right plan you need to circumvent or even take advantage of those dangers. Going into any business blindly will result in an increased chance of failure. Do your planning and your research in a realistic way, and your startup could be one of the few that lasts more than three years.